‘Bird’ is a track which pulls the listener into its tide, awash on the ear with its mellow opening before wielding waves of verses which burst to a brilliant height – thanks to the skill of London-based Sabiyha.
Here is a singer-songwriter who stopped me in my tracks; delivering what is not typically expected for a debut. Visceral, voluminous music which speaks of depth but also danger – like treading water but through searing sound. Here we are encountering difficult themes, a depth of personal experience.
First I noticed the depth of the lyrics guiding me towards “there’s a box of cigarettes on the windowsill” which slipped with a tantalizing, almost child-like vulnerability over dwelling acoustic. Then the sudden surge into a searing, yodel-like layering of tone as we enter the tale of self-revelation: “To red, to green, to white and gold.“
Not just a progression through colour, this is a song which speaks of a process of self-discovery – referencing the singer’s own Indo-Caribbean background, attempts to fit in – growing all the more urgent with soaring strings and a seethe of drumbeat.
No wonder it feels like the verses wield a growing force topping the tide of the chorus as the tune builds towards a crescendo – a climbing choral height hitting at a crucial centre point. You are not just a listener, but a participant in this surge of emotion – which not only showcases Sabiyha’s enchanting vocal ability, but lyrics which linger with a mythic, telling depth – “Birds have hollow bones/ And the bones have echoes of their own” chilling me especially.
Her forthcoming EP is actually titled ‘Hollow Bones,’ and this debut single (‘Bird’) certainly is striking. Highly recommended.
Sabiyha is to celebrate the launch of her ‘Hollow Bones’ EP with a show at London’s Bedford, ticket information and event times can be found here.